Boko Haram militants attacked an army base in northeast Nigeria, killing one soldier, military sources told AFP on Friday, a day after regional leaders urged more international support to fight the jihadists.
Fighters with the Islamic State West Africa Province came in trucks fitted with anti-aircraft guns and attacked the base in Arege village near the fishing town of Baga on the shores of Lake Chad.
The base came under attack before dawn, prompting clashes, a military source revealed.
“The attack was successfully repelled but unfortunately a soldier was killed and seven others were injured,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the incident.
The same base came under attack on Wednesday, but the militants failed to overrun it “and suffered heavy casualties,” a military statement said on Twitter.
The jihadists have in recent months intensified their attacks on military bases in the northeast, with the most audacious taking place on November 18, when military sources said at least 43 soldiers were killed at a base in Metele near the border with Niger.
Troops who survived said over 100 of their colleagues were killed, but after a long period of silence, the military on Wednesday gave an official figure of 23 deaths.
The latest attack came a day after President Muhammadu Buhari went to N’Djamena to meet top leaders from Chad, Niger and Cameroon to discuss how to deal with the surge in violence.
Buhari is under pressure to show his administration is winning the fight against Boko Haram ahead of a presidential election in February at which he will seek a second term in office.
“The heads of state and government expressed their deep concern with regards to the upsurge of attacks and expressed the crucial need to change their modus operandi in the fight against Boko Haram,” a joint statement said after the talks.
The nine-year conflict has killed about 27,000 people and displaced 1.8 million from their homes in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the European Union and the Economic Community of West African States have expressed concerns over the increase in attacks by terrorist groups in Nigeria.
They said the spate of attacks posed a great challenge to the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
The two organisations made the observation in a communiqué issued at the end of 22nd ECOWAS-EU political meeting in Abuja on Friday.
The meeting was at the ministerial level of the EU and ECOWAS.
It was co-chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Mustapha Suleiman, and Secretary of State of Finance Republic of Austria, Hebert Fuchs, who is the chair of the Council of the EU.
Sulaiman represented the chair of ECOWAS Council of Ministers while Fuchs spoke on behalf of the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The communiqué read in part, “The participants exchanged views on the security and humanitarian situation in the north-east Nigeria.
“Both sides commended the progress made in the fight against Boko Haram but noted with concern the recent increase in attacks by terrorist groups.”
“Referring to its support provided to the Multinational Joint Task Force, the EU expressed its commitment to support the countries of the Lake Chad Basin in addressing the multiple remaining challenges in this region through a comprehensive approach,” it stated.
The participants noted the challenging general security environment ahead of the February 2019 elections in Nigeria.